Friday, January 25, 2013

Technology Take Two

I received such a huge volume of responses and inquiries about the technology contract negotiated between myself and Child #1 that I decided to publish it here in today's post.

As I said on Monday, this contract is the negotiated version of one that first appeared here in Huffington Post and was drafted by Janell Burley Hofmann as a contract for her thirteen year old son.

Can you guess which clause Child #1 drafted?

Child #1’s Technology Contract


All references to “I” herein refer to both Mom and Dad. All references to “you” herein refer to Child #1.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Isn’t it exciting that you have a phone!!

2. I will always know the password.

3. The phone will go into inactive mode promptly at 8:00 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to your instincts, they will serve you well throughout your life and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

4. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

5. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit or spend some of the money you’ve been hoarding in your purse. Accidents happen, you should be prepared.

6. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or suffer the consequences.

7. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

8. Think about the kinds of statements that would upset, disappoint or anger your parents. Do not text, email, chat, or use this device to say something to someone that would fall into any of the categories in the previous sentence. Censor yourself. It’s another important life skill.

9. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person -- preferably me or your father. Remember, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. The clearest information about sex will always come from your parents.

10. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to dictate your behavior.

11. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Even though this sounds silly now, someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear -- including a bad reputation.

12. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it.

13. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

14. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

15. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Wonder without googling.

16. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team and we are in this together.

17. I will not play any games, change the passcode or pretend to be you. After I have checked your phone I will put it back where I found it. If I block someone on any application I will tell you afterwards. I will not send any emails or texts or delete any of your pictures or videos, so long as they are appropriate.

It is my hope you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever-changing world. I want you to have access to all that it offers while giving you the tools to negotiate it safely. Trust your amazing mind, spot-on instincts and enormous and loving heart above any machine. I love you.




Child #1




Connie J Jasperson said...

That's an awesome contract! I hope Child #1 sees just how awesome a parent you are! I can't wait to see how she manipulates this to get a bit better of a deal, as children always do!

Shell Flower said...

This really is a great contract. I'm guessing #17 was child #1's idea, due to concerns. A "friend" of my son once sprayed wasp spray in my son's eye b/c my son used his phone to text the girl he was crushing on saying "I like you", so yeah, it is certainly a big teen concern. (Don't worry, my son was fine after lots of eyewashing). He learned his lesson, too, but never hung out with that kid again.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was the last one, wasn't it?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

They should hand that contract out at phone store every time someone buys a phone for a child.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Connie!

Shell, I'm so glad your son was okay. How scary!!

Alex, you got it!

Diane, I agree.

jaybird said...

Brilliant! Love it, and might just have to steal it in the future..

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to draft something similar for my children.

Kristen Wixted said...

My almost 14 year old never charges her phone, barely ever knows where it is, and doesn't seem terribly interested in it.
I kind of have the opposite problem from most parents.
I'm always saying, "Where's your phone?!"
Next fall she goes to HS though, and I wonder if it will be more interesting to her then.
Plus, it's not a touch screen, so it's "stupid and old-fashioned." (According to her 12 year old sister who has the same phone)
I love the contract. I will hopefully need to steal it someday.

Chuck said...

Wow! That's pretty impressive. I take this is signed in blood, right?